On Sunday Sept 9th, Roller Magic hosted the CT Roller Girls in Waterbury for yet another battle of furious speed and mayhem. The Iron Angels were up against the Elm City Bone Crushers – a highly anticipated rematch. The Angels were coming in with a bitter taste in their mouths after having been defeated by the Elm City Bone Crushers at their last meeting. This was sure to be another good bout.
I arrived at about 6:15 with my friends Nicole and Shaun. They were both Roller Derby virgins. Nicole was rooting for the Iron Angels. Shaun, swayed by player ChaCha LaRue’s devilishly attractive Derby photo, was rooting for the Bone Crushers. As we anxiously awaited the start of the match, a handful of little kids danced in excitement.
The action started with the piercing riffs and fist pounding bass drum of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’. We did everything we could to hold back from chanting “THUNDER” as the Iron Angels stormed out for their introductions.
The Elm City Bone Crushers (ECBC) came out next, equipped with bats, chains, severed arms, and skulls pierced with spears. Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ boomed from the amps. It was freakin’ Awesome.
After a demonstration explaining the rules (the Bone crushers had to put down their bats; weapons are not allowed) the Derby girls got out on the starting line. The first few jams went back and forth with each team strategically ending the jams after looping through the pack once, thus securing a quick four points.
The Iron Angels took an early lead – their pack was producing holes in the ECBC defense, and the jammers were taking full advantage!
In the fifth jam Dead End Allie took up the Angel’s Jamming position next to the ECBC’s ChaCha LaRue. The Jam started and the girls took off. Dead End Allie pulled some sweeet moves and achieved the first Grand Slam of the evening.
Grand Slam: When a Jammer successfully passes the entire opposing team and then proceeds to loop around and also pass the opposing jammer for a total of 5 points.
The Angels were taking their revenge out on the Bone Crushers and it was getting violent.
Let’s take a step back from the action and look at how all this Derby goes down.
There are about 10 girls on each Roller Derby Team. Five of whom are out on the ring at any one time. Each team has a captain and an assistant captain. Outside of the players themselves, there’s a horde of referees, officials, EMT’s, and volunteer support staff who help out with keeping statistics and running the show. There are typically a few MC’s, a DJ, and a memorabilia shop that sells all sorts of hip roller girl paraphernalia. It’s a pretty huge operation.
*picture from Ct Roller Derby site
I had a chance to talk to referee Ian Fluenza and ask a few questions. As the Roller Girls skate furiously around the ring the refs have to keep track of points, penalties, and point out the lead jammer to the eager crowd (the lead jammer is the jammer who gets through the pack first and as a result has control over the length of the jam). My obvious question was: do the refs get dizzy? Strangely enough, I guess they don’t. But Ian Fluenza did comment on how it can be tricky counting points as the Jammer’s weave in and out of the pack.
Out on the ring the 4 girls in the pack play both the roll of defense and offense. They do their best to help their team’s jammer through and keep back the opposing jammer. This match had among others: Susan Bea Anarchy, Vixen Vega, Victoria Deck’em, and Jenghis Kahn for the ECBCs and Nelly Nuckles, Niki Nitrous, and Slaughterhouse Sadie for the Iron Angels. There’s a lot of rotation of positions with Derby Girls moving in and out of the jamming position and the pack.
At the first intermission the Angels were winning by over thirty points.
Despite the slow start, Captain Damanda Beatin’ and her Bone Crushers weren’t letting up. In the midst of the second round the Bone Crushers seemed to get a sudden boost of energy. Chelsea Grin took a 12 point round followed immediately by a Grand Slam by Ether Bunny. But Iron Angels Pearl Jammer, the leagues highest scoring Derby Girl, and Tina Colada kept fighting back.
By the end of the second period the gap between the teams had widened and the angels had passed the 100 point mark.
The Action continued into the last period. Despite the score gap the Bone Crushers pushed on. When Judy Scarland grabbed lead jammer status during a jam in the third period and swung her fist in the air the cheers from the crowd were deafening. Still the Iron Angel’s were rolling with incredible momentum. Their jammers kept pulling in points.
At numerous times during the bout our mouths fell open in awe at the insane maneuvers being pulled off. Nicole turned to me in the third period, stunned, and commented:
“that jammer just grabbed the hips of her teammate to whip herself forward!”
The determination and drive of the girls was very noticeable. I can only imagine how exhausting it is to skate sprint around aggressive opponents for a 20 minute period.
As the clock ticked down those final seconds the official scoreboard settled on the final tally: 143 to 72. The Iron Angels took a victory lap around the ring to the hollering cheers of their fans.
Pam Terror celebrates the win.
Sadly, I got word from Ian Fluenza that Bone Crushers Demanda Beatin’ and Chelsea Grin both were injured in the bout. Chelsea with a nasty shoulder separation that’ll keep her off her skates for a bit. From all of us here at MikeDiDonato.com we wish you a speedy full recovery.
The next bout will be the Bone Crusher’s vs. the Widowmakers on October 14th! Check out the CT Roller Girl website for more info!!